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Memphis blanks Hartford Athletic, 2-0

Hartford’s Juan Pablo Torres looks to keep control of the ball during Saturday’s USL Championship match against Memphis at Trinity Health Stadium. (Photo courtesy Hartford Athletic)

HARTFORD, May 6, 2023 — Memphis 901 FC improved their unbeaten streak to six games with a 2-0 road victory over Hartford Athletic on Saturday night at Trinity Health Stadium in United Soccer League (USL) Championship play.

The Beale St. Boys used goals from Laurent Kissiedou and Rashawn Dally along with a four-save shutout from goalkeeper Bill Hamid to grab their second road victory of the USL Championship regular season.

Memphis is 3-0-3 in their last six games while Hartford (2-6-2, 1-5-2 USL Championship) dropped their second straight USL Championship match. The Athletic are tied for last place in the Eastern Conference with Detroit with five points after eight USL Championship matches.

Memphis displayed their quick attacking capabilities to take the lead in the 32nd minute as Phillip Goodrum put a ball through for Luiz Fernando, who crossed in behind the defense to Kissiedou for the tap-in. Kissiedou scored his second goal in USL Championship competition while Fernando notched his second regular season assist.

Fernando’s run of form continues as the Brazilian winger has contributed to goals in his last five games across the USL Championship and U.S. Open Cup with two goals and three assists.

Memphis stayed on the front foot while keeping Hartford in check in the second half and put the exclamation point on the victory in the 83rd minute when Bruno Lapa crossed in to Dally running down the middle to finish.

“We had a tough time stopping their front four. We thought we were prepared for that but at the end of the day, great players make great plays and they did. They were a handful up front and we didn’t do enough to stop them,” Hartford head coach Tab Ramos said.

Hartford was unable to put much pressure on Memphis in the first 45 minutes, taking just one shot that was off target.

Trailing 1-0, the Green and Blue began the second half on the comeback trail, and immediately began creating offensive opportunities. Just three minutes into the half, Kyle Edwards received a corner kick feed from Danny Barrera and headed his shot just above the crossbar. Prince Saydee fired a shot on target five minutes later, and Danny Barrera followed up with another.

The game remained tied as it entered the final 10 minutes, and Hartford continued to knock on the door. They had their best chance of the game when Matt Sheldon lobbed a throw-in into the box that was headed down by Barrera and fell to Antoine Hoppenot just outside the six yard box, but Bill Hamid made a quality save on his shot from close distance. Less than a minute later, Dally scored on a counter attacking chance for Memphis just a minute later for a 2-0 lead.

Hartford goalie Richard Sánchez did well to keep Hartford in the game, making four saves after Memphis had 12 shots inside Hartford’s box and challenged him and the back line consistently.

Despite the loss, it was a positive night for Hartford’s Dren Dobruna. The 17-year-old from Waterbury made his first start tonight, making him the youngest player in the history of the club to start a USL Championship match. The game was also Danny Barrera’s 200th USL Championship appearance, yet another milestone for Hartford’s longest-tenured player.

Hartford returns to action next Saturday night when they face Phoenix Rising at 10:30 p.m., EST.

Memphis 901 2, Hartford 0
At Hartford
Memphis (2-2-3) 1 1 — 2
Hartford (1-5-2) 0 0 — 0
Goals: Memphis — 32′ – Kissiedou (Fernando); 83′ – Dally (Lapa); Corners: Memphis 17-10; Saves: Richard Sanchez (H) 4, Bill Hamid (M) 4
Starting lineups
HARTFORD ATHLETIC — 1 (GK) Richard Sánchez, 22 (DF) Robin Lapert (Hodge, 45′); 3 (DF) Kaveh Rad, 28 (MF) Conor McGlynn, 40 (DF) Dren Dobruna (Edwards, 45′); 16 (DF) Matt Sheldon, 77 (MF) Andre Lewis, 29 (FW) Antoine Hoppenot, 8 (MF) Juan Pablo Torres, 11 (FW) Jeciel Cedeño (Barrera, 45′); 7 (FW) Prince Saydee
MEMPHIS 901 — 21 (GK) Bill Hamid, 14 (DF) Akeem Ward, 3 (DF) Carson Vom Steeg, 16 (DF) Graham Smith, 19 (DF) Rece Buckmaster, 6 (MF) Aaron Molloy, 18 (MF) Jeremy Kelly (Turci, 60′); 7 (MF) Bruno Lapa (Borczak, 91′); 11 (MF) Laurent Kissiedo (Peters, 80′); 10 (FW) Phillip Goodrum (Pickering, 60′); 9 (MF) Luiz Fernando (Dally, 80′)

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